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What are the risk factors for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection?

Having many sexual partners is a risk factor for HPV infection. Although most HPV infections go away on their own without causing any type of abnormality, infection with high-risk HPV types increases the chance that mild abnormalities will develop and progress to more severe abnormalities or cervical cancer. However, even among the women who do develop abnormal cell changes with high-risk types of HPV, only a small percentage would develop cervical cancer if the abnormal cells were not removed. As a general rule, the more severe the abnormal cell change, the greater the risk of cancer. Studies suggest that whether a woman develops cervical cancer depends on a variety of factors acting together with high-risk HPVs. The factors that may increase the risk of cervical cancer in women with HPV infection include smoking and having many children.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.